Many pitchers who haven’t been to our facility often ask “What’s your secret sauce?” Now, please remember I am not a strength or pitching coach. I am just a guy with an Electrical Engineering degree, an MBA, 30 years of business experience and a dad. So, much of my commentary is based on what I observe up close in our facility and as a parent of 2 boys growing up playing ball. Frankly, over the years I have seen it all, from the straight up hitting and pitching facility to the strength and conditioning place. RPP is different in every way. And here’s why…
1. Pitching is Completely Intertwined with Anatomy – Most pitching coaches have a very limited knowledge of anatomy. This isn’t meant to be a knock on pitching coaches. There are excellent pitching coaches out there. Some may even have Exercise Science or Kinesiology degrees. But, let’s face it, most pitching instructors grew up as pitchers and playing the game is what they know.
The image below is what’s going on when you pitch… In less than 2 seconds, just about all 640 muscles and 240 bones in your body are involved in your delivery. The higher your velo the more stress on the system. Pitching is completely intertwined with anatomy. Isn’t it obvious?
Here is a great quote from Matt Blake, Director of Pitching (Cleveland Indians) and I really can’t say it any better… “Asking any coach who does not have an extensive knowledge of functional anatomy to analyze one of the most complex movements in all of sports is not only irresponsible but dangerous”.
Whether it’s lack of strength, weakness or lack of mobility, every single day we assess pitchers with physical impediments. There is no such thing as a pitcher without any. So basically, until you get someone who understands anatomy to physically evaluate you, you are lacking the knowledge to be the best that you can be. I really can’t put it in any simpler terms.
2. We Provide a Highly Motivating Culture – Ball players in our facility invest significant time to get exceptional results. A typical off-season for most pitchers is 10-12 sessions with a pitching coach over a two month period (typically January and February). If each session is 30-60 minutes long, that’s a total 5-10 total hours of instruction during the off-season. The next time they might see their pitching coach is possibly during the summer months or the next off-season.
To be good at something takes hard work. To be exceptional takes a different kind of commitment, something not typical. At RPP, we provide an environment and a culture for those committed to their craft, and the bottom line is that our guys just love being here and working hard to become exceptional.
3. Customization and Education is an Endless Pursuit – I won’t dwell too much on this. But I can tell you that it often feels like we are taking pitchers, breaking down their movement patterns and pitching mechanics and then coming up with an individualized road-map, fully customized for each pitcher.
Combine this, with an endless pursuit for cutting-edge methods of evaluating and training pitchers, anatomically, physically and mechanically, and the result is an unparalleled environment to deliver exceptional performance.
4. We Provide a Path to a Higher Velo Ceiling – For good or bad, velo has become extremely important in scouting pitchers. If you ask most pitching coaches to help improve your velo their reaction generally is “let’s take a look” or “let’s talk about throwing strikes”. And that’s where it ends. There is nothing wrong with that. Except, these days throwing strikes is only half the story. Whether we like it or not, here is a summary of the current environment:
Low velo implies no interest to some interest. High velo means high interest to very high interest. Here at RPP, an intensive knowledge of anatomy drives our physical assessment and video analysis. We not only break down where pitchers might be leaking velocity, but also provide the opportunity through an individualized training program and hard work, both in the weight room and in the tunnel to achieve a higher velo ceiling. I think every pitcher, who experiences what we offer, gets it. We can and have delivered on both.
5. Strength, Explosiveness and Mobility are Above All Else – Having watched nearly a thousand athletes come through RPP during these past couple of years, I can tell you first hand that strength, power and explosiveness are extremely important. But a big part of the secret sauce is knowing when and, just as importantly, how to train which muscle groups so that they deliver exactly at the right time with the maximum amount of force.
Every year, we watch our guys walk out of RPP into their spring season as exceptional athletes, strong, powerful and standing tall with confidence. This confidence carries onto the mound, and it enables them to do exceptional things.
There it is, you have it, our secret sauce… An understanding of anatomy, a great culture, endless hours of training and hard work, customization, a path to a higher velo ceiling and an endless pursuit to attain knowledge and continually improve what we offer all in one facility. Oh, and making our pitchers as strong and explosive as we can, in all the right places.
By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-owner RPP)